Anime Blog and Reviews

First Impression: “Black Clover”

What is up Tokurs!

So I know it’s been an absolutely ridiculous amount of time since I’ve posted here. But I’m back and this time I’m changing things up a bit. Previously, I had cared about sounding professional in my impressions and reviews but I’ve realized that just isn’t me. This is anime after all and anime is fun and exciting. There are good and bad stories but the majority of the time it’s fun. So let’s have some fun!

So it’s now the fall of 2017 and there are a ton of new shows coming out. I’ve watched quite a number of shows this year but not all from the last few seasons so forgive me as there is some catching up I have to do.

So today we’re checking out the show Black Clover.

Simulcast on Tuesdays 6:25am EDT

Publisher: TV Tokyo

“In a world where magic is everything, Asta and Yuno are both found abandoned at a church on the same day. While Yuno is gifted with exceptional magical powers, Asta is the only one in this world without any. At the age of fifteen, both receive grimoires, magic books that amplify their holder’s magic. Asta’s is a rare Grimoire of Anti-Magic that negates and repels his opponent’s spells. Being opposite but good rivals, Yuno and Asta are ready for the hardest of challenges to achieve their common dream: to be the Wizard King. Giving up is never an option!”

Watch Black Clover

Episode 1: “Asta and Yuno”

So the show starts out with Yuno and Asta as babies that are in a church/orphanage. We’re quickly exposed to the huge difference in their personalities at birth and the show skips ahead 15 years. Not much is really learned but we’re basically informed that they’re not related but around the same age and they’re both orphans. Hopefully this is explained later but for now it’s not a real problem.

After the time skip we see them as teenagers and the differences of their character as babies are exaggerated even more as teens. Asta is loud and obnoxious to the point of being annoying. I feel this is because he’s the only character in this world pretty much with no magical ability at all. We can see the other orphans and even Sister Lily all have magical powers. I feel this insecurity causes Asta to act out in order to generate some sort of attention for himself.

Yuno helping with chores.

Yuno on the other hand is calm and collected. Extremely talented at magic already and pretty much shows up Asta without trying hard. Which of course sends Asta off into some sort of temper tantrum for validation. It appears that Yuno is a conjurer of wind magic as we see him helping out with laundry and slicing through the air like a knife to cause damage to objects like wood. I find wind to be a fairly versatile magic and it’s a nice break away from the typical strong character relying on fire. Though, when I think about it Naruto used wind as well. So we haven’t fully moved away from the staple elements of strong main characters. Though Asta is pretty typical doesn’t have special powers so works on his physical fitness in order to make up for a lack of magic. This hasn’t seemed to pay off yet.

We learn that both Yuno and Asta want to become the Wizard King. My guess is he’s the most powerful wizard in the kingdom sorta like the Hokage. If you haven’t noticed the Naruto references well they’re there for context to show similarities. Anyways, this seems increasingly difficult for Asta to achieve without any magic and we learn that something happened while they were younger that changed each of them.

So March rolls around and it’s time to get their grimoire’s. Yuno get’s extremely lucky and pulls the Four Leaf Clover grimoire known to be legendary for the Wizard King has one. He quickly asserts that he’s going to become the Wizard King. Asta doesn’t manage to get a grimoire and is embarrassed by the outcome as it wasn’t expected. Yet, he still says he’s going to be Yuno’s rival and catch up to him in ability.

Shortly after the grimoire ceremony Yuno is attacked by two young aristocrat wizards who are jealous of him getting all the attention. He easily defeats one of the users fire magic with his wind magic. Kinda interested in how this works as generally in most cases fanning the flames has backfired for other wizards in other shows for example Natsu in Fairy Tail. Though, before they get a chance to actually harm Yuno another wizard who goes by the name Revchi of Chain Magic appears and stops them. Not because he’s interested in helping Yuno. No sir! This man wants the Four Leaf Grimoire to sell on the black market. Apparently, he’s a fallen Magic Knight who seems to be going around and attacking amateurs.

Asta grimoire transformation.

Asta appears to try and stop him but is quickly man-handled by his magic. At this point Revchi tells him that his chains let him know the amount of magic power in his opponents and it seems Asta has absolutely none. He goes on a tirade about how pathetic Asta is completely tearing him down. Up to this point Asta hasn’t shown any serious signs of depression or lack of belief in himself but realizing that he has no chance of gaining the use of magic is a reality he never expected. Though this sparks Yuno to do something he hasn’t done and he stands up for Asta calling him his rival. This triggers Asta’s un-wavered belief in being Yuno’s rival and suddenly we see the secret Five Leaf Clover aka the Black Clover which represents a demon residing within the grimoire. An extremely impressive appearance makes this a pretty epic unveiling for Asta and the episode ends at that point.

Episode 2: “The Boys’ Promise”

So let me back track for a minute as I completely forgot to put this information in the first episode. So the intro theme is extremely nice for the show as is the intro sequence we can see a lot of characters that haven’t been brought into the show and it’s clear there are going to be some cool adventures ahead. It’s interesting that the wizards use brooms to get around kinda like witches in other magical shows like Kiki’s Delivery Service and Harry Potter. It’s an interesting touch and we’ll see how it plays into the show.

Wizard King Statue

So episode 2 was predominantly a giant flashback. We get to see what happened about 10 years earlier between Asta and Yuno. Not much really happened in the episode so this will be pretty short but to summarize things. Sister Lily is seen raising and taking care of the kids. Asta has already aged into a full-fledged annoying kid who spends nearly every moment asking her to marry him. She’s pretty cute but shes a nun so he’s asking the impossible. Yuno knows this and tries to tell Asta.

Father asks Yuno to take a letter to the mayor in order to request additional food to make it through the winter. Asta wants to do it, but he can’t because Father doesn’t trust him. So while Yuna is out we see a drunk get kicked out of a bar. He notices Yuna has a nice pendant and follows him to steal it. At this point Yuna thinks that he could use his magic to defend himself but it’s extremely weak. At that time Asta shows up still without magic and pretty much charges constantly head first into this guy taking all the punches he can dish out. It eventually annoys the guy and he leaves the pendant and walks away.

Skeleton of Demon slain by Wizard King

We learn that Asta’s desire to become the Wizard King is to prove to everyone that even the poor and orphaned can become the Wizard King. His sense of duty for protecting those around him that he cares about is inspiring to Yuno who decides from then on that he will also strive to become the Wizard King. At this point they make a pact to be rivals in this goal as well as friends. Though because of this pact it explains why Yuno has been cold towards Asta for years. It’s mostly because in order to be rivals they have to compete against each other and to Yuno that means he can’t show weakness towards Asta who saved him that day.

Friends but Rivals

The flashback ends and we see that Yuno is excited that Asta is receiving a grimoire and he says “Asta always does the unthinkable.” Which it’s pretty unthinkable to have a magicless grimoire that provides a nullify magic sword. Asta uses this newly found strength and announces that “Not giving up is my magic.” Seems a bit cliche in it’s tone but hey he’s gotta say something! I don’t expect this to become the Dattebayo of the show but if it does it probably won’t be said nearly as much. So the boys reaffirm their pact and the episode ends.

Episode 3: “To the Royal Capital of the Clover Kingdom”

Now for our last episode of this first impression. If you remember my older posts they were much shorter and based on a single episode of the show. While some shows that works well for, Ancient Magus Bride, other shows not so much. From now on I’ll go with the standard 3 strike rule. If a show can’t hook me in 3 episodes then it’s not a show worth watching.

So this episode starts with the battle between the demon and the first Wizard King. Not much can be said other than it was a pretty epic battle and he saved the world. We see Asta and Yuno have both been training extremely hard for the Magic Knight Entrance Exam. Pretty much everyone has given up on Asta even passing the exam. In fact they’ve pretty much wrote him off even though they know he managed to get his own grimoire. What’s crazy is the two spoiled aristocrats who attacked Yuno decided they were too afraid to become magic knights. Ha! couldn’t help but enjoy that.

They eat their last meal as a family before Asta and Yuno depart from Hage Village on their journey. At this point we’re exposed to a montage of experiences while they travel to the Royal Capital for the Magic Knight Entrance Exam. At the end they reach the capital and the episode ends.

Royal Capital

Final Thoughts

So, Black Clover, is an interesting show. Granted it uses a standard trope of the powerless hero that gains power. We haven’t seen much from the characters other than a few minor interactions and back story. Nothing to really push the main story forward. On top of that Father is just called Father so I have no clue what his name is and the Royal Capital is only called Royal Capital. This irks me because if you want to build a world the viewer should really know the names of the locations. We found out the name of Hage Village when they were leaving. Other than that we haven’t had any explanation as to why Asta received his grimoire or any idea what this exam is going to be like. The show does a decent job with pacing. Nothing feels like it’s dragged out for too long. But it doesn’t do a good job with telling us much. But for those of us who love tournaments they did a good job of hyping up this entrance exam. So while I may not be completely sold on the show I want to see this contest to really see what this show can deliver for action. We got a brief taste at the start of the episode with the battle with the demon but not much else. All in all I give Black Clover a solid B. It’s not a must watch by any means but it looks to be enjoyable for the action fan. Comment and tell me how you feel about the show at this point.

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